University Honors Program

University Honors Program

Brazilian Amazon

On the River...Experiencing the Amazon is an honors seminar with a study tour to Brazil!

This seminar will next run in 16SS. The information below is from when the 14SS seminar was offered. 

BoKs: NS, SE

Check out this amazing video of the Brazilian Amazon that 14SS student John McGill created as his class project!

Read an article about the students' experiences in the Amazon! 

The sustainability of endangered tropical ecosystems may depend on the action of individuals who have a realistic appreciation of their structure, function, beauty, people, and problems.

Students completing this course will be among those with the potential to influence the future, as they will have personally experienced the Amazon River and investigated the issues challenging it today. Students taking On the River come from diverse backgrounds. The goal is to elevate everyone’s conceptual understanding through readings, media, instructor/guest/ student-­‐led lectures and discussions. We will spend the first 8 weeks of the semester on this. Come spring break, we will travel to Brazil to see just how well that academic understanding matches the real world. The Amazon River basin is one of the largest, intact, tropical rainforests in the world. The Amazon River is equally impressive, running from the Peruvian Andes to the Atlantic Ocean – well over 4000 miles. Our trip will explore two unique segments of this extensive river system, the Rio Solimões and the Rio Negro. These rivers come together at a “wedding of the waters” just outside Manaus, Brazil. Our trip will start at Manaus; spend five days on the Solimões and another five on the black water of the Negro. During the trip, students, instructors, and crew live on the Iracema, a boat that will carry us over 600 nautical miles along the river. We will use the Iracema as our home base as we explore the flooded forests by canoe and the upland, villages, and cities, on foot. During the trip, students will conduct independent projects developed earlier in the semester.

The study tour will take place over Spring Break, from March 12 - 22.


*This is a sample itinerary, to provide prospective participants with an idea of what you will see and do. It is subject to change, depending on the length of the trip and needs of the group.

We will be traveling with Amazonia Expeditions, an expedition company based in Manaus, Brazil.

Course Information

Course details:

     •  Course number is EVST3014

     •  The class meets on Tuesdays & Thursdays from 3:30PM - 4:50PM.

     •  Course Attributes: H, I

     •  BoK: NS, SE

     •  Credit hours: 3

     •  Honors Seminar

Course Expectations

Students are expected to meet the instructor's academic and behavioral expectations during the class time leading up to the travel component. Students who do not meet academic and/or behavioral expectations will not be permitted to travel. Students in this situation will not receive a refund.

Total expected cost to be paid to UC is $2300. The actual cost per person for UC is $3500, but this will be offset by a $1000 grant from University Honors as well as a $200 grant from UC International Programs, making the actual total expected cost around $2300. All participants will receive the grant from UHP.

Costs include airfare, accommodations on an Amazonian riverboat (double rooms with private bath), bottled water, all meals on the boat, guides and crew tips, and ground transportation in Brazil.

Costs do not include baggage fees, passport, visa, meals at airports, soda (can be purchased on the boat), vaccinations (Yellow Fever required), personal supplies, souvenirs, insurance or ISIC card (international student identity card, $25).  Visa and vaccine costs are very expensive, please budget up to $600 to cover these costs.

Students are required to purchase an ISIC (International Student Identity Card) from UC International for $25. This is not included in the total expected cost.

Travel Documents

In order to travel outside the United States, you will need to have passport that is valid for at least six months after your return; for this course, that means September 2014.  To find the forms you need to apply for or renew your passport, go to the Passport page on the US State Department's website.  New passports regualrly cost $135 while renewals cost $110.  Do not wait to be accepted into the class to apply for your passport.

In order to travel to Brazil, you need a tourist visa.  The visa cost is high - $200-$300 for visa and consular fees, $50-75 for mailing, and $60 or higher fee if you choose to use a visa agency.  We will give you more information regarding visas after you are accepted into the class.

UC recommends that all students have an International Student Identification Card (ISIC).  UC International has information regarding how to obtain an ISIC.  ISICs are $25.

Vaccinations and Health Precautions
Contact your physician to discuss what vaccinations and heath precautions (like malaria prevention and taking antibiotics with you) are recommended.

Yellow Fever vaccination is required. All participants must be vaccinated and carry with them proof of yellow fever vaccination.  Yellow Fever vaccinaion will cost well over $100 and is NOT included in the costs that you are paying to UC.

All participants should carefully read the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) webpage on Brazil and, specifically, the Amazon region.

Application and interview required.  Please click here to apply.  Applications to this seminar are closed.  At the beginning of fall semester, you will be contacted to arrange a time for an interview with course professor Dr. Jodi Shann.

UC undergraduates who are not in the University Honors Program are welcome and encouraged to apply, provided the student has a cumulative university GPA of 3.4 or above. Graduate students are not eligible to enroll. 

Contact the faculty director, Dr. Jodi Shann or André Durham of the University Honors Program.